“If the witness and proclamation of the priest is of truth, then the world is not what we think it is. Our modes of perception of reality and our definitions of reality are grossly deficient and distorted.
“The (priest) is one who takes the entire world view, the encompassing gestalt, turns it upside down, inside out, shakes it onto the floor so that we might know that what we take for granted, what we think is given reality, is but a mere fraction of the mystery.” – Michael Dwinell, Fire Bearer
This quote eloquently states a truth I tried to convey in my One Thing I Haven’t Surrendered series: If you and I truly believed Jesus is alive today we would see the world in a fundamentally different way; the lens through which we perceive our world would be shattered by the truth of the resurrection. Perhaps this is why the various New Testament writers tried to describe in so many different ways the miracle of the resurrection: They were trying to describe the impossible with definitions and descriptors of a reality that had ceased to be. How do you explain the impossible in common language?
If Jesus is alive today then there is a power at work in the universe which we have misunderstood. In our modern obsession with all things measured and quantified there is no room for the resurrection. Life begins, and life ends. Without a living, breathing Jesus to observe and test our modern minds simply cannot comprehend how a body can be tortured and murdered, but somehow be made alive again. It makes absolutely no sense; it is not possible. In a place deep inside ourselves we wonder: Was the resurrection was a fraud, or perhaps a metaphor? Maybe the apostles meant the ‘spirit’ of Jesus’ teachings lives on in us, we reason. However, Jesus’ disciples were very clear: They witnessed a living, breathing, eating Jesus after he was publicly murdered. Jesus’ disciples were so convinced of the resurrection that many of them were later murdered for failing to recant their testimony.
If Jesus is alive today then I believe the modern, or post-modern, or missional, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it-church is…wrong. Wrong in the sense that it is an institution like any other in the world; wrong in the sense that it confirms the limited scope of a non-resurrection reality; wrong in the sense that it provides a safe haven for people who only want to feel good with a magical prayer that somehow grants them an immortality they don’t even believe in.
If we really believed that Jesus is alive today:
- Would we approach communal worship as an obligation, or worse, a form of entertainment?
- Would we keep tabs on who is and isn’t at church?
- Would we need small groups to prop up our lagging faith with another Beth Moore book?
- Would we keep telling ourselves that our sins aren’t as bad as their sins?
- Would we really care about the opinions and doctrine of other churches?
If Jesus is alive today, then everything I think I know is wrong. The way I’m living my life is wrong. The way I worship God is wrong. The way I perceive reality, the words I use, the burdens I bear, the fears I carry, and my concern over my standing with other men is ALL WRONG.